Canadian Genealogy |Ontario Genealogy | Victoria County | Town of Lindsay

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From Village to Town, Victoria County, Ontario Canada

Meanwhile the village had been growing slowly but steadily. Kent Street was chopped out in 1840 and other streets soon followed. William McDonell came in from Peterborough and began the first tannery. George Colter started a potashery and William Thornhill an iron foundry. Bigelow bought out Fulford's carding and fulling business and developed it. Stores were kept by Thomas Keenan, Jeremiah Britton, Wm. McDonell, and G. M. Roche. By 1851, the population had risen to 300.

Navigation now began to develop and to bring prosperity with it. The steam boat "Woodman" was built at Port Perry and the "Ogemah" at Fenelon Falls, and others soon followed. Pilotage was extremely difficult along the meandering Scugog, which was long known as "the River Styx" because of the innumerable stumps that have disfigured its banks for three generations; but the growth of lumbering made river traffic of paramount importance and the Scugog fleet increased rapidly.

Meanwhile a charter had been granted in 1846 and renewed in 1853 to a railway company which purposed building a line from Port Hope to Lindsay (and later to Beaverton). Work was begun in earnest in 1854 and by December 1856 the head of steel had reached Reaboro. With the imminent prospect of being a railway terminus, subject to rapid growth, the citizens of Lindsay now applied to the government for incorporation as a town.

The following year saw the incorporation of the towns of Bowmanville, Milton, Bradford, Oakville, Sandwich, Collingwood, Windsor, and, finally, Lindsay. Some of these municipalities of like age have since outstripped Lindsay but most of them have lagged far behind.

An Act passed by the Legislative Assembly on June 10, 1857, contained the following preamble: "Whereas from the rapidly increasing population of the Village of Lindsay, in the county of Victoria (one of the United Counties of Peterborough and Victoria) and from the peculiar position thereof as the intended County Town and the northern terminus of the Port Hope Railway, it is necessary to confer upon the said village the power of municipal government and incorporate it as a town under the name of the "Town of Lindsay," etc., etc.

The chief financial provision of the Act related to a bonus of $80,000 which had been paid by Ops (including Lindsay) to the Port Hope railway. It was arranged that the municipal debenture debt representing this gratuity should be divided between the town and the township according to assessment. Lindsay had at this time an assessment of about $300,000 and a population of about 1100.

The limits of the town were now extended so as to take in not only the original townsite but also three additional tracts, each of 400 acres.

The first of these was the old Purdy estate, Lots 20 and 21 in the 5th Concession, or that part of the . present town bounded by Lindsay, Durham, Verulam and Colborne Streets. Hiram Bigelow on his death in 1853, had willed this property to the Bank of Upper Canada. In 1856, the bank conveyed the property to a real estate corporation known as the Lindsay Land Company and headed by John Knowlson and Robert Lang. This company had the land platted off into streets and building lots. It will be noted that the names chosen for these new streets were quite different from those on the old town site. East of the river we have, for example, St. Paul Street, St. Patrick Street, St. Peter Street, St. David Street, St. George Street, and St. James Street.

The second new parcel of land included within the limits of 1857 consisted of Lot 22, Concession V, and Lot 22, Concession VI, or all that part of the town which lies to the north of Colborne Street. All this area and another 400 acres adjoining it on the north had belonged to Cheeseman Moe, a retired naval officer, who left Lindsay for California during the gold rush of 1848 and has never been heard of since. Modern occupancy is therefore based on tax titles.

The third addition of land comprised Lot 19, Concession V, and Lot 19, Concession VI, or all that part of the modern town lying south of Durham Street. This tract had originally been granted by the Crown to Colonel McDonell, of Greenfield, Glengarry County, the surveyor of Ops. McDonell disposed of this piecemeal. Part of it was given by him to Father Chisholm (a fellow Scotch-Canadian from Glengarry) as a refuge for Irish immigrants who came out after the famine of 1847. The little settlement which sprang up here was known as "the Catholic village."

Other picturesque sections of the town are "the French village" and "Pumpkin Hollow." The former lies in the east part of the town and was settled by French-Canadian lumberjacks, whose descendants here numbered 309 at the last census. The latter lies a little to the southwest of the Flavelle mill and was so called because of the great crops of pumpkins grown there in early days.

The Act of incorporation divided Lindsay into three wards. The East or "Victoria" Ward comprised all that part of the town which lay to the east of Lindsay Street, and the North and South Wards those parts of the remainder lying to north and south respectively of the middle line of Peel Street. On July 18, 1862, the government sanctioned a change; whereby the center line of Kent Street became the dividing line between the North and South wards, as at present.

Municipal Officials

Town of Lindsay

Victoria County


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